“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!” I wish you and your families a most Blessed Easter Day and a grace-filled Easter Season! May you experience the joy and the peace of the Risen Lord. And may you come to appreciate more deeply his presence with us at all times: in our deepest pain and in our greatest joy, in times of trouble and in times of triumph, in times of doubt and in times of certainty, in times of darkness and in times of new insight. May all of us be truly grateful for the gift of Christ’s enduring presence, most especially in the sacrament of the Eucharist we receive each week, as we celebrate the Paschal Mystery (Christ’s passion, death, resurrection, and ascension). Indeed, “let us rejoice and be glad!”
This Easter has certainly been one filled with new life – new sacramental life – new life in Christ. At the Easter Vigil, five young ladies between the ages of 7 and 13 were fully initiated into the Catholic Faith through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. In addition, three children, ages 5 to 6, (siblings of those being fully initiated) were baptized. And, Father Jim received delegation from Bishop Cistone to confer the sacrament of Confirmation on two young boys (ages 9 and 11 – cousins of some of the newly initiated); they also received First Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. We also had one infant baptism, a brother to two of the newly initiated. Congratulations to Cheyenne, Gabriela, Nadia, Raven, Aliyana, Elicia, Olivia, Jaedynn, Raymond, James, and Julian (and their families)! This is a most special time for all of you. Saint John Paul II Parish Community warmly welcomes you as the newest members of the faith community. Please be assured of our continued support and prayer as you grow in your love of Jesus and the Church and come to learn more about our faith throughout your years of faith formation. We look forward to your presence at Eucharist with us each Sunday.
I would like to extend a special thank you to those who helped out in any way to make our Holy Week and Easter liturgies solemn and prayerful experiences. Whether you worked behind the scenes, attended liturgy and participated fully, made a donation for Easter flowers, served in an area of liturgical ministry, worked on enhancing the Church environment, served in music ministry, connected with the sick and homebound, or prayed for all of us, know that I deeply appreciate your role and active participation in Saint John Paul II Parish.
Each year, during Easter Week, the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph is in Assembly in Chicago. It is part of our governance structure that once a year we meet as a whole community. As you can see, that requires a bit of traveling. Most often, our gathering begins on Easter Monday. This year, I get to catch my breath a bit after Holy Week and Easter and sneak in a visit with my mom, as our Assembly begins on Thursday, March 31 and ends on April 4. That being said, neither Sister Janet Pewoski, Sister Patricia Warbritton, nor I will be in our parishes to celebrate the Octave of Easter this coming weekend. Please do keep us and the CSJs in prayer this week, that we may be open to the promptings and direction of the Holy Spirit and that our meetings will be fruitful and life-giving.
Special thanks to all who have made a pledge to the Catholic Services Appeal this year. As you can see by the report in today’s bulletin, we are doing very well. I am confident that we will make our assessment this year, thanks to your generosity. If you have not yet returned your pledge card, please prayerfully discern what you are able to do Serving with the Heart of Christ (this year’s CSA theme). When you are able to make your pledge, you may place it in the collection basket, drop it in my mailbox (at the rectory), bring it to the Parish Office Center on Carla Drive, or place it in the mail.
Blessings on these Easter Days!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ